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Professional Lawn Care Association 

of Ontario

Lawn Frequently Asked Questions


When should I cut my grass?
Your lawn should be kept at a height of 3” long. No more than 1/3 of the grass plant should be removed in one mowing. Grass may require more frequent mowing in the spring and fall than during the hot summer months. Try not cut your lawn during the hottest part of the day, early morning or late afternoon is best.

Is a sharp lawnmower blade important?
A sharp mower blade is very important. A dull mower blade rips and tears the grass blades. This increases plant injury and also the ragged edges serve as ideal entry point for various diseases. This is especially visible in hot weather when the tips dry out and turn brown. Depending on how frequent you mow your lawn you may need to sharpen your mower blade 2 – 3 times during the season.

Should I remove the grass clippings?
No, grass clippings should be left on the lawn when mowing. Grass clippings are about 90% water by weight. Because they are high in protein they should be left on the lawn to decompose and add nutrients to the soil. Grass‑cycling also reduces waste and conserves landfill space. It is only necessary to remove the clippings if they are long and will smother the lawn.

How much water does my lawn need?
Most lawns need about 1” to 1‑1/2" of water per week. Too much water is just as bad as not enough. Variables such as weather, soil type, if there is a slope and grass type all influence how much and how often you may need to water your lawn.

An easy way of telling if your lawn needs water is if your footprints are still visible after you walk across your lawn and the grass doesn’t spring back up. Early morning is the best time to water your lawn so that the grass can dry slowly and naturally without too much evaporation. Regular, deep watering is better than a daily light sprinkling. Deep watering and allowing the lawn to dry out will force the roots to grow deeper in the soil.

Is fertilizer important?
The best times to fertilize your lawn are in the spring, summer and autumn. Autumn is the most important as it stimulates the grass to become thick and strong rather than increasing top growth. Fertilizers must be applied evenly and at the proper rate to prevent burning or leaving stripes on the lawn.

Do I need weed control?
Weeds compete with your lawn for water, space, light and nutrients. Weeds can take over a lawn if not kept in check. It is when this type of imbalance occurs that many people request help from a lawn care professional. Before this happens, a preventive approach to controlling weeds is recommended which include: regular fertilization, proper mowing and watering practices.

Why do I have moss?
 Moss may be a problem whenever one or more of the following situations are present:

  • Poor air circulation
  • Shade
  • Poor drainage or compacted soil
  • Low fertility levels
  • Low soil pH

You need to determine the cause of the moss before you can fix it, by:

  • Aeration
  • Tree pruning to reduce shade and increase air circulation
  • Soil test for pH levels

Why do I have mushrooms growing in my lawn?
It is very common to find mushrooms growing on lawns that contain buried stumps, roots, boards, excess thatch and other organic debris. They tend to appear after heavy rains or watering. Some mushrooms have an unpleasant aroma and some are poisonous. They do not damage the lawn and there is no chemical control for mushrooms. Mushrooms will disappear naturally when the food in the soil becomes exhausted, this may take several years.

Is there a risk to my children and pets after a pesticide has been applied?
Follow your lawn care professional's written instructions and remain off a treated lawn until it has dried or for 24 hours. When the material is applied to a lawn, it dries very quickly. Once the product has dried it becomes very difficult to remove any residues from the lawn.

Studies were performed on commonly used weed control materials at the University of Guelph. They concluded that only 6% of applied material could be removed by vigorous scuffling with a cheese cloth immediately after an application to a turfgrass area. Bystander exposure studies also performed at the University of Guelph revealed no detectable levels of pesticide residues in homeowners that were casual observers to applications.

Who registers pesticides in Canada?
Canada has one of the most stringent pesticide regulatory systems in the world. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada registers all pesticides marketed in Canada. The safety and effectiveness of each product is thoroughly evaluated by toxicologists to ensure products meet strict safety standards. In most cases, pesticides are subject to more testing than pharmaceutical drugs. Professional applicators are highly trained and adhere to all provincial regulations concerning pesticide use.

The pest management products that are available to the homeowner for use on lawns are virtually the same products that commercial lawn care companies use. Like other products used in and around the home (such as paints, cleaners, medicines, fuels, pesticides) they should always be used responsibly and only when needed. When pesticides are used and stored according to their directions they are safe towards people, pets and the environment.

What do the experts say about 2, 4‑D?
Health Canada evaluates all pest control products. 2, 4‑D, the product that’s commonly used for weed control, is among the most highly tested product in the world. This product has been used on lawns, golf courses, parks and other turf areas for over thirty years. When applied by trained technicians, according to their directions, it effectively controls broadleaf weeds without posing unacceptable risks to people, pets or the environment.In fact there is extensive research available to support the continued responsible use of this product.

 Independent scientific panels have reviewed both the toxicology and epidemiology data of 2, 4‑D in the last ten years. All panels concluded that no cause and effect relationship has been established between 2, 4‑D and cancer and/or that the continued use of 2, 4‑D poses no unreasonable risk to people, pets or the environment. Copies of the reports are available on the internet at

Where can I find additional information regarding pesticides?
Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada

Urban Pest Management Council

2, 4‑D Task Force Information

Guelph Turfgrass Institute
519-824‑4120  Ext. 56886
Contact: Rob Witherspoon

Professional Lawn Care Association of Ontario
537 Frederick Street

P.O. Box 23015

Kitchener, Ontario

N2B 3V1

P: (519) 836-4906


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